Police in Mpumalanga are looking for a suspect who brutally raped and murdered a 13-year-old girl at Malema section, Emzinoni township near Bethal on Sunday.
According to a statement, the girl left her home on Sunday morning after she was sent to a nearby shop by a neighbour, but did not return.
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Later on in the day, her parents - together with several residents - searched for her, but could not find her. Her disappearance was not reported to the police.
Her body was then discovered close to her home by a passer-by on Monday. She had been raped.
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The girl's parents then reported the matter to the police.
"An intense investigation on the matter in currently underway. Anyone with information regarding this matter is requested to contact Warrant Officer Shibe Mathabe at 082 462 2836," said provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.
The provincial commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, condemned "in the strongest possible terms the brutal acts of violent crimes committed against women and children".
He also requested residents to immediately report to the police should they suspect that a family member is missing.